Tuesday November 17, 2009
We got away from Mustang Island Campground by 8:45. The sun was shining and the wind had died down significantly. We headed north through Port Aransas and crossed over to the next island and to Aransas Pass via a ferry. The ferry ride was the shortest I believe we have ever taken – maybe 200 yards. The reason for the ferry is the need for large boats to go back and forth at this pass. As soon as we crossed the ferry; we saw a tanker and a container ship pass by. There were at least 4 ferries that each carried about 12 vehicles. One of the ferries even had a school bus on it!
We purchased gas in Aransas Pass and then headed up the coast through Rockport-Fulton until we reached the side road to the Aransas Wildlife Refuge and took it to see what we could see. The road continued through remote farmland until we reached the Refuge which was playing host today to 3 bus loads of 3rd graders. We got a stamp and headed out on the loop drive in hopes of seeing a whooping crane among other things. We climbed a 40 foot observation tower and also took a boardwalk out to another viewing site. We heard the cranes first and then when we looked up saw the pair flying overhead. We also noted white tail deer, an armadillo, an alligator, and several other birds that Ben identified. Jane was disappointed not to see a Roseate Spoonbill but such is life. We ate a picnic lunch before we left the Wildlife Refuge.
Ben Viewing Birds
Armadillo at Aransas Wildlife Preserve
Heading back towards the main road we stopped to ask a local farmer what their main crops were – he said corn, cotton, and milo. The fields were in various stages of plowing. The farmer told us they planted the main crop in February. There were also oil and natural gas wells periodically along the roads. We continued on our trek to Goliad.
When we reached Goliad we toured the Presidio La Bahia (The Fort of the Bay).
Presidio La Bahia
This fort is a National Historic landmark and considered the finest example of a Spanish frontier fort; this one established in 1721. The fort was a participant in 6 different battles in the Texas wars for independence. The most famous being the 1836 Palm Sunday Goliad Massacre where 341 men and their leader Col. Fannin were executed after their loss of the battle of Coleto Creek. This happened shortly after the battle of the Alamo. The chapel of this fort was original but the presidio itself was restored to the style of the 1800’s. The location is owned by the Catholic Diocese of Victoria and was authentically restored in large part by one lady, Mrs. Cathryn O’Conner, a descendent of a participant in the early battle.
Chapel at the Presidio
After viewing and photographing this wonderful structure we continued on to Victoria where we found an RV park with internet for the night! Jane cooked tilapia tonight with a very good salsa. The evening is going to be watching NCIS and catching up on internet and the blog. Tomorrow we hope to reach Galveston if we don’t spend too much time along the way!